Lee Kiefer (center) with Coach Buckie Leach and teammate and fiance Gerek Meinhardt. Photo Credit: Brandon Dyett.
Kiefer fenced Jessica Guo (CAN) in the finals in Lima. Photo Credit: Lima 2019.
(Colorado Springs, Colo.) – Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.) has dominated the Pan American circuit in a way no one else has.
At just 25 years old, Kiefer’s career has been nearly unblemished in the region and she made history again on Monday, becoming the first fencer from any nation and in any weapon to win three straight individual Pan American Games titles, winning gold in Lima, Peru after titles in Toronto in 2015 and Guadalajara in 2011.
Kiefer adds the win to a record nine straight gold medals at the Pan American Championships from 2010 to 2018. Her win concludes a season that has Kiefer ranked fifth in the world after a fifth place finish at the Senior World Championships in Budapest two weeks ago.
“It feels so good,” Kiefer told teamusa.org after the finals. “All the girls are such tough competitors. We’ve just come off a long season, World Championships, so it really feels amazing to be up there on the podium.”
Seeded first in the tournament, Kiefer was nearly unstoppable in pools, dropping just three touches out of five bouts to retain the No. 1 seed going into the direct elimination rounds.
After a bye into the quarter-finals, Kiefer secured a medal with a 15-9 win against Flavia Johanna Mormandi (ARG).
Kiefer blasted through her next bout against Ana Beatriz Di Rienzo Bulcao (BRA), 15-3, to qualify for the finals against Jessica Guo (CAN) – the 14-year-old who earned a top-16 finish at the Senior Worlds and took silver at the Pan Am Championships in June.
Guo pushed Kiefer early in the bout with a tie at five, but Kiefer went on a 5-1 run to pull ahead to 10-6 and closed out at 15-10.
Kiefer will return to competition on Thursday for the team event where she aims to anchor the squad to another gold medal finish after taking silver in 2015 and gold in 2011. She will be joined by first-time Pan Am Games team member Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.), who finished 10th in Lima after a 15-13 loss to Gabriela Cecchini (BRA), and London Olympian Nicole Ross (New York City, N.Y.) All three fencers were members of the squad that won bronze at Senior Worlds and are each top candidates for the Tokyo Olympic Games in 2020.
“This is my last go-around,” said Kiefer who will take the next year to train full-time before returning to her third year of medical school at the University of Kentucky. “We’re just trying to come in with good energy, just be happy, and be our most authentic selves.”
The men’s individual epee event also was held on Monday with Curtis McDowald (Jamaica, N.Y.) placing fifth and Jake Hoyle (New York City, N.Y.) placing 13th.
McDowald went 4-1 in pools and edged Jhonnatan Ortega Morales (MEX), 15-13, in the 16 before a loss to 2017 Pan Am Championships silver medalist John Edison Rodriguez Quevedo (COL) in the quarter-finals.
Hoyle finished the pool rounds at 2-3, but lost to Rodriguez, 15-9, in the table of 16.
McDowald and Hoyle, both first-time Pan Am Games team members, will fence in the team event on Thursday with their 2019 Senior World teammate James Kaull (New York City, N.Y.)
Top eight and U.S. results are as follows:
Women’s Individual Foil Pan American Games
1. Lee Kiefer (Lexington, Ky.)
2. Jessica Zi Jia Guo (CAN)
3. Ana Beatriz Di Rienzo Bulcao (BRA)
3. Eleanor Harvey (CAN)
5. Nataly De La Luz Michel Silva (MEX)
6. Flavia Johanna Mormandi (ARG)
7. Anabella Ileana Acurero Gonzalez (VEN)
8. Gabriela Paczko Bozko Cecchini (BRA)
10. Jackie Dubrovich (Riverdale, N.J.)
Men’s Individual Epee Pan American Games
1. Ruben Dario Limardo Gascon (VEN)
2. Jesus Limardo Gascon (VEN)
3. Yunior Reytor Venet (CUB)
3. John Edison Rodriguez Quevedo (COL)
5. Curtis McDowald (Jamaica, N.Y.)
6. Marc-Antoine Blais Belanger (CAN)
7. Athos Marangon Schwantes (BRA)
8. Jesus Andres Lugones Ruggeri (ARG)
13. Jake Hoyle (New York City, N.Y.)
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